Another week, another game. Today’s question: why are Hawaii, Pepperdine, and every school in San Diego not dominant in sports? Given the choice between Pullman, Lubbock and Hawaii, I know which I’m choosing.
I expected the Huskies to roll last week, and I was way off. I thought Sarkisian’s comments this week were fascinating, especially when he talked about the players needing to realize that they can play and can’t be tentative. Against Eastern, they looked like they did early last season: tentative, unsure of themselves, lacking an identity. Remember that game against Arizona (might have been in 2009) where Arizona kept throwing bubble screens until the Huskies finally stopped one? That is kind of how last week was. Eastern kept throwing and luckily Desmond Trufant finally stopped them.
Most of us assumed, or at least hoped, that the identity the Huskies established at the end of last year would carry over to this season. In week one, it didn’t. The physical playmaking was nowhere to be seen. There’s no reason to think they won’t eventually get it back, unless Jake Locker was just an irreplaceable part of that identity. I don’t think that’s the case, so the question is when they’ll flip the switch and dominate someone. Here’s to hoping it’s this week, because they might not win this one otherwise.
UW 37, Hawaii 24
The last time Hawaii played in the state of Washington, they won. But that was against WSU, and typically the Warriors are awful away from the island. I really don’t see Washington losing this game, but they easily could if the same team that played Eastern shows up. Ta’Amu and the d-line have got to make things uncomfortable for Moniz, and the linebackers have got to disrupt the passing lanes. The secondary gets a boost with Richardson’s return, and having a nickel package all game will help. On offense, UW is going to open things up a bit, and 30+ points seems likely.
I’ll call it Huskies 33, Warriors 24
All week it has been DEFCON 1 surrounding UW football. The amount of vitriol toward the Dawgs performance against EWU could fill the Grand Canyon. No Husky fan in their right mind was happy with how they played last Saturday. No coach or player, for that matter, was happy with how they played. The saving grace is the Huskies did indeed survive and salvage a win, which at the end of the day, in sports, is all that matters. Another saving grace is they get a home game versus Hawaii. Yes, the Rainbow Warriors (I love to continue calling them that) run the run ‘n’ shoot, which will cause problems for the Huskies secondary, no doubt, but I think the Dawgs come out much more aggressive and focused for this game. No way they play sluggish and uninspired like they did against Eastern. I believe coach Holt will continue to dial up defenses to get the players in the right position to make the play. It’s up to the players to execute, and I believe they will. It’s a matter of survival at this point. Step up, or lose.
Offensively, I expect coach Sark to open up the playbook and throw down field. The lack of a deep passing game last week was unacceptable, and they know it. Look for the UW to attack Hawaii deep, while pounding Polk up the middle, with Callier changing the pace outside. I am fully expecting to see ASJ get targets and passes coming his way. He’s too talented a weapon to only throw to once or twice in a game. In the end I am going with UW if for no other reason they are the more desperate team, despite being 1-0. They must prove last week was a fluke. There is no other option if they want to go bowling again this year.
UW wins 33-27
Last week was an embarrassment, but it was what the Huskies needed to be ready for this week. It’s been a bit of a strange week around Husky Nation. The players all seemed to be chewed out Monday afternoon and Sark gave one of the most honest press conference’s I’ve ever seen, even though it was after a win. Most players then declined to do interviews this week and practice was closed to everyone on Thursday. The level of intensity has definitely gone up, but will that mean an improvement? I think so. Maybe it’s because I never got down much after last week, but I think the Huskies are still an 8 win team in the Pac-12. An 8 win team in the Pac-12 has to beat Hawaii at home. Does Moniz (Hawaii’s QB) scare me? Sure, but no one else on their offense does. Their defense looked good against Colorado, but Colorado hasn’t won a road game since their Buffalo mascot was born it seems. Tomorrow at this time I might be kicking myself for buying into all the things we’ve heard about the team being more intense, but for now I think it’ll mke a difference. In fact, I think the Dawgs win more comfotably than last week. Go Huskies!
UW 35, Hawaii 27